Peggy and Draper:
Companions in misery,
Sleeping on the couch.
A mouse, roach, vomit,
a fight. Just another night
at Sterling Cooper (Draper Price).
Drunk Duck’s love story.
We were in love. She’s a whore.
Just like the others.
Peggy and Draper:
Companions in misery,
Sleeping on the couch.
A mouse, roach, vomit,
a fight. Just another night
at Sterling Cooper (Draper Price).
Drunk Duck’s love story.
We were in love. She’s a whore.
Just like the others.
Despite the puzzled face of the young fellow
In scarecrow overalls reading a comic book,
It’s all there, the bell peppers, the radishes,
Local blueberries and blackberries
That will stain our lips and tongue
As if we were freezing to death in the snow.
The kid is bored, or pretends to be,
While watching the woman pick up a melon
And press its rough skin against her cheek.
What makes people happy is a mystery,
He concludes as he busies himself
Straightening crumpled bills in a cigar box.
-- Charles Simic
A couple of weeks ago, David posted Shelley's astrological profile and in her comment, "Sharon" picked up on David's reference to an especially bad line in one of Shelley's poems. The exchange reminded me of an earlier post by Laurence Goldstein that appeared here in January '09. It's worth rereading so take a look. Any other nominations for bad lines in great poems or by great poets?
Ever since David and I traveled to China and Mongolia in 2008 as guests of the American embassy, I’ve paid particular attention to all things Mongolian-related that might happen in New York City. When an item about Hamid Sardar’s photography exhibit at the Tibet House appeared on Manhattan Users Guide (scroll down), I invited my friend Leigh Wells to see it with me. Leigh lived in Mongolia for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer and is herself a talented photographer. She’s just back from a month-long visit to her old stomping grounds.
As so often happens in New York, our signals got crossed and I ended up going solo but I’m hoping to return with Leigh to get an insider’s take on the photographs from both a cultural and artistic perspective.
Sardar’s images are breathtaking. If you live in New York City or are planning a visit, put this show on your agenda. It’s on view through August 20.
Beginning in 2000, Sardar traveled to Outer Mongolia to make a record of the country’s remaining nomad tribes. He followed horse-breeders, bear-hunters, wolf-tamers, eagle-masters, and reindeer riders on their seasonal migrations. His intention was to capture a nomadic culture on the brink of the great and irreversible change brought on by a fledgling democracy and encroaching technology.
The 25 pictures on display are large – 18 ½" x 27 ½" -- and in addition to depicting the brutal conditions facing nomads traversing the mountains during the harshest weather imaginable (to this city dweller), they include intimate portraits of family life: a young girl performs the morning milk dance, a grandmother pacifies her grandchildren on a wolf pelt (above). “Kazak Mother Wolf”, is particularly memorable for both its subject matter and its composition. A Rembrandt portrait comes to mind, where the central figure appears to glow from an interior light.
Each photograph is accompanied by Sardar’s helpful description. Some explain the lore behind a particular ritual captured by the image; others are suspense-filled tales of man facing the elements. A series taken over a period of days in 2006 shows hunters struggling over a mountain during an especially brutal snow storm. Sardar can hear avalanches “crashing down the mountain slopes.” The visibility is so poor that he can “barely see ten feet ahead.” At one point the fresh snow gives way under his feet and he plummets down a twenty-foot funnel. From behind, he hears the voice of a hunter: “Isn’t this wonderful,” the hunter says, urging Sardar to “push ahead until we reach the bottom of the bowl.”
Leigh and I did manage to catch up this afternoon over ice-tea and coffee at City Bakery on 18th Street. Leigh handed over a gift bag of aaruul (right), the popular Mongolian snack made of dried milk curd. I had sampled it during our 2008 stay and have been haunted by its flavor ever since. It looks like nuggets of dried toothpaste and starts with the funky flavor of a strong cheese but has a sweet finish. (Some varieties are not sweet.) After chewing a few pieces Leigh and I agreed that it would enliven a salad of bitter greens and dried cherries tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette. You heard it here first! Mongolian aaruul, the next big thing!
These poems trip through Afghanistan, Tokyo, and Mozambique. These poems journey with turtledoves, trout, the pages of a book and a soldier on leave. Poems that shop, bush walk, slumber in utero, visit with Jesus, King William, Andrew Jackson, and hawks. These poems ride on the spine of a pit bull, on torpedoes and a black river, on trains and the subway. Here's a sweet bite:
The Girl Fighting Back Tears on The Subway During Morning Rush Hour by Stacey Harwood
Cynthia Gregory was one of the great prima ballerinas of the last century. I'd seen her American Ballet Theater performances countless times and the "after image" of her Odette-Odile in Swan Lake is indelible. She was memorable for her long expressive line, her subtle acting, her intelligent interpretations that always seemed to find something new in classic roles. She was the epitome of elegance.
Shortly after I moved to New York City in the late '70s, I went to a movie at an uptown theater. I don't recall the feature, but before it began, this short film of Gregory dancing with Ivan Nagy rolled. It has haunted me ever since, and based on the comments below this YouTube video, which surfaced recently, others had a similar reaction. What do you think?
During those years, my sister Amy and I often attended the summer weekend matinees at Lincoln Center. One afternoon, moments before the first curtain, we grabbed a couple of empty orchestra seats we had spied from our perch in the balcony. Just as the conductor tapped his baton,a voice came over the loudspeaker to announce that Ms. Gregory would not be dancing. "Damn," I said. "You can't plan on anything these days." "Sometimes we have injuries," said the woman seated to my right. I turned. It was Cynthia Gregory, and her ankle was bandaged. I hadn't recognized her in street clothes and without makeup.
On another occasion, my sister and I had a post-performance snack at O'Neal's Balloon, a casual restaurant that faced the State Theater dressing room exit. Just as our drinks arrived, Cynthia Gregory stepped onto the street and into a cab. Her arms were filled with bouquets of lilies. She was wearing a white silky summer dress and a white straw hat with an enormous brim. Was she a vision or a waking dream?
At that moment the doorbell rang, and in anticipation of my first guest I wriggled out of my mother’s arms, slid my arched spine over her knees, and landed on the floor under the table, and crouched there. “Aren’t you going to answer the door?” my mother asked. But I had no intention of doing that; I only wanted to hide.
The day was momentous, but parties were mixed blessings. You got presents, all right—pick-up sticks, or crayons, or flat boxes of modeling clay in many colored strips—but they were the lesser presents of party admissions. And we all had to sit at the table with ridiculous pointed paper hats, and paper plates and noisemakers and popping balloons and pretend to a joyful delirium. In fact, a birthday party was a satire on children directed by their mothers, who hovered about, distributing Dixie Cups and glasses of milk while cooing in appreciation for the aesthetics of the event, the way each child was dressed for it and so on; and who set us upon one another in games of the most acute competition, so that we either cried in humiliation or punched each other to inflict pain.
And it was all done up in the impermanent materials of crepe paper, thin rubber and tin, everything painted in the gaudy colors of lies.
And the climax of the chaos, blowing out the candles on the cake, presented likely possibility of public failure and a loss of luck in the event the thing was not done well. In fact, I had a secret dread of not being able to blow out the candles before they burned down to the icing. That meant death. Candles burning down to the end, as in my grandmother’s tumblers of candles, which could not be tampered with once lit, memorialized someone’s death. And the Friday-night Sabbath candles that she lit with her hands covering her eyes, and a shawl over her head, suggested to me her irremediable grief, a pantomime of the loss of sight that comes to the dead under the earth.
So I blew for my life, to have some tallow left for the following year. My small chest heaved and I was glad for my mother’s head beside mine, adding to the gust, even though it would mean I had not done the job the way one was supposed to, with aplomb.
Photo left: Rose Landowne; Geralding D'Amico, director of Jewish Book Week; David Lehman; Morton Landowne, director of Nextbook; and Naomi Gryn. Photo right: The Guardian's Jason Solomon with David Lehman.
Still floating among the stars from Jewish Book Week, David, along with Mark Ford, Heather Phillipson, Emily Berry, Liz Berry, Kayo Chingonyi, and Luke Kennard, gave a reading at London's Marylebone branch of Oxfam's bookshops. Todd Swift organized and hosted the reading in connection with the recent release of Asking a Shadow to Dance: 35 Young British Poets for Oxfam.
The first kiss, I gave you as coldly as I would have put my name to a contract; the second, I gave with enormous curiosity to analyze you and myself, but in fact, I didn't analyze anything and understood nothing, as I was still feeling a kind of timidity that froze me; at the third kiss, and those which came after it, I could feel in my arms the sweet girl I had been searching for, and all that was left of my youth. Now, I understand the whole business less and less; what's certain is that my powers as analyst are not what I thought they were. I don't know the color of your eyes, your hair often surprises me, and I still don't really know your kisses. Mine too have a strange quality; not passionate warmth, to be sure, because I'm careful, very careful, that they shall not be more than you allow them to be. I don't want to be violent, I want to be gentle and kind. My greatest pleasure lies in feeling that I've changed -- I don't care to say grown young again.
-- letter from Italo Svevo to Livia Veneziani (from "Memoir of Italo Svevo" Marlboro Press, 1991).
It isn't horrible because I happen to like the song a lot. "Come to the Moon," is an obscure Gershwin tune and I thank Lloyd Schwartz for introducing it to me by recommending Broadway Show Stoppers (get it!). I'm not sure why the song is infiltrating my thoughts now (dreams of escape?) but in my experience, the only way to rid oneself of an earworm is to hear the song in its entirety. Unfortunately the "worm" activates itself when I'm away from my music collection. So I've done the obvious: searched the nooks and crannies of YouTube for a video, preferably of an award-winning college choir like this one giving it the full treatment. No such luck. Instead, I waded into the apparently very deep waters of the Japanese Vocaloid . The "singer" of Gershwin's tune is Megurine Luka (巡音ルカ, a twenty-six year old female who "sings" in both English and Japanese. What strikes me as bizarre here is that the vocaloids are opting to cover these old standards. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? You tell me.
This week's Economist reports that Thames and Hudson has published the 819 surviving letters of Vincent van Gogh. I have a dog-eared 1996 Penguin Classics edition of his selected letters and love to read them for his precise descriptions, his insights, his humor, and the illustrations. Here are a few lines from a June 18, 1888 letter from van Gogh to his friend Emile Bernard:
" . . . the most beautiful paintings are those which you dream about when you lie in bed smoking a pipe, but which you never paint.
Yet you have to make a start, no matter how incompetent you feel in the face of inexpressible perfection, of the overwhelming beauty of nature."
And later in the same letter, this bit of advice: "Painting and fucking a lot don't go together. It softens the brain. Which is a bloody nuisance."
The good news is that you don't have to shell out $600 for the six volumes. They're all accessible, free, at www.vangoghletters.org.
Bill Hayward sends along this link and photos from The Port Authority, where poets Jeff Johnson and Claire Donato are live blogging poetry every day during the performance's 10-day run. Check it out!
Pictured, above: Back row (L-R): Yvonne Blomer, James Arthur, David Seymour, Joy Russell, E. Alex Pierce, Peter Norman. Middle Row(L-R): Stephanie Bolster, Leanne Averbach, Anna Swanson, Shirarose Wilensky, Front(L-R): Molly Peacock, Heather Wood, Halli Villegas, David Lehman.Poets from all over Canada touched down in NYC yesterday for a weekend of readings to celebrate the inaugural volume of The Best Canadian Poetry in English. Lets give our neighbors a warm welcome! We met last night at the Canadian Consulate in mid-town, where there was much cheer and excitement. Molly Peacock initiated the series, which is modeled on The Best American Poetry. Celebrated poet Stephanie Bolster selected the poems in this volume. These fine poets will read this evening at the NYU Friday Happy Hour Series (5:00 PM, Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House, 58 West 10th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues) and at The Bowery Poetry Club (308 Bowery, at Bleecker St) on Saturday at 2:00 PM. Both events are free.
"But the movie made me think about taking a poetry class. One of the best things that can happen from a movie about an author is that you actually want to read their work."
Quentin Tarantino on Jane Campion's movie "Bright Star" about the epistolary romance between John Keats and Fanny Brawne (NYT September 13, 2009). The movie opens Wednesday, September 16.
Last week's post about jazz saxophonist Lester Young whet our appetite for more of his music. Jamie Katz, who wrote a moving tribute about Young for Smithsonian, came through for us with his recommendations. You can't sit still when the Prez plays!
Lester Young: Suggested listening
The Lester Young/Count Basie Sessions 1936-1940 (Mosaic Records)
The Complete Lester Young on Verve
The Complete Aladdin Recordings of Lester Young (Blue Note)
The Complete Lester Young on Keynote (Polygram)
Count Basie and His Orchestra: America's #1 Band! (Columbia)
Count Basie: The Complete Decca Recordings (Decca)
Young: A Musical Romance (Columbia)
Lady Be Good (with Count Basie)
Taxi War Dance (with Count Basie)
Tickle Toe (with Count Basie)
He’s Funny That Way (with Billie Holiday)
Back to the Land (with Nat King Cole)
A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs David Lehman. Nextbook/Schocken, $22 (272p) ISBN 978-0-8052-4250-8 (From Publishers Weekly, August 10, 2009): As part of the publisher's ongoing Jewish Encounters series, Lehman, poet, anthologist (The Oxford Book of American Poetry) and critic (The Last Avant-Garde),
melds dreamy personal reflections with impressive archival excavation
for a thorough look at the popular early-20th-century songwriters and
what made their work quintessentially Jewish. Delving into the iconic
hits of Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, the Gershwins, Harold Arlen, Larry
Hart, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, among selective others,
Lehman ponders how these Ashkenazi Jews, mostly raised speaking Yiddish
in New York as cantors' sons, melded their particular wit, melancholy
and sophistication with the rhythmic richness of African-American
music—a blending of blues and jazz. In their many beloved seminal
hits—e.g., Berlin's “Alexander's Ragtime Band” (1911), George
Gershwin's “Rhapsody in Blue” (1923), Rodgers and Hammerstein's “Oh,
What a Beautiful Mornin' ” (1943)—these sons (Dorothy Fields being the
female lyricist exception) of refugees from anti-Semitic rumblings in
Europe “were conducting a passionate romance with America,” Lehman
maintains. The author himself grew up in the Inwood section of New York
City, under the warm spell of these songs; by the time he graduated
from Stuyvesant High School and attended Columbia, where many of these
songwriters had met, rock and roll was supplanting that old-time magic.
Digressive, nostalgic and deeply moving, Lehman achieves a fine,
lasting tribute to the American songbook. (Oct.) "I'm so proud I'm bustin' my vest" (Bushkin/DeVries) -- sdh
As part of the publisher's ongoing Jewish Encounters series, Lehman, poet, anthologist (The Oxford Book of American Poetry) and critic (The Last Avant-Garde), melds dreamy personal reflections with impressive archival excavation for a thorough look at the popular early-20th-century songwriters and what made their work quintessentially Jewish. Delving into the iconic hits of Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, the Gershwins, Harold Arlen, Larry Hart, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, among selective others, Lehman ponders how these Ashkenazi Jews, mostly raised speaking Yiddish in New York as cantors' sons, melded their particular wit, melancholy and sophistication with the rhythmic richness of African-American music—a blending of blues and jazz. In their many beloved seminal hits—e.g., Berlin's “Alexander's Ragtime Band” (1911), George Gershwin's “Rhapsody in Blue” (1923), Rodgers and Hammerstein's “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin' ” (1943)—these sons (Dorothy Fields being the female lyricist exception) of refugees from anti-Semitic rumblings in Europe “were conducting a passionate romance with America,” Lehman maintains. The author himself grew up in the Inwood section of New York City, under the warm spell of these songs; by the time he graduated from Stuyvesant High School and attended Columbia, where many of these songwriters had met, rock and roll was supplanting that old-time magic. Digressive, nostalgic and deeply moving, Lehman achieves a fine, lasting tribute to the American songbook. (Oct.)
"I'm so proud I'm bustin' my vest" (Bushkin/DeVries) -- sdh
Last week I went to the Union Square Greenmarket with the chief produce buyer for the Gramercy Tavern, a fantastic restaurant on 20th Street near 5th Avenue. I have to say, it was among the best experiences I've ever had! Here's the post and slide show I did for Time Out New York. What a blast!
Gusto aperitivo. Check it out if you're in NYC.
With one day remaining on Phoebe Putnam’s visit here, I want to tell the story of how she came to be a guest blogger. Most of our guests come to us through rather conventional means – either we’ve known them from our circle of writing friends and acquaintances or we get to know them because they become engaged with the blog and we begin a correspondence that leads to a guest blogging stint. Phoebe took an entirely different route and I bet that nobody would guess it so here goes:
Shortly after I found my first NYC apartment roughly ten years ago, I became obsessed with making the most of a tiny space, especially the kitchen, because I love to cook. My obsession led me to Apartment Therapy, a design blog with a mission to help people turn their living spaces into homes, with an emphasis on real homes, not the kind found in glossy shelter magazines. The blog appealed to me, more so when it initiated a series of contests that invited readers to send pictures of their apartments. I entered the first “I Love My Kitchen” contest (under my screen name, Shoshana) with a picture of the kitchen in my 200 square-foot studio apartment (I did not win, place, or show).
In 2007 AT sponsored a “Small, Cool” kitchen contest and Phoebe’s kitchen took first prize. That's her kitchen pictured above.
David and I, after searching off and on for several years, finally land our
first NYC apartment. The only draw back? No kitchen (see right). I still had Phoebe’s
kitchen in mind so I e-mailed her for advice.
How big was her kitchen? (Ours is roughly 5’ x 8’). I wondered if we could re-do our kitchen to
look something like hers, which I admired greatly. Phoebe responded from the Boston area and at the same time put me in touch with her architect dad, who had
In my classroom, poetry is its own reward
Louann Johnson, Dangerous Minds
In my classroom, poetry is its own reward
The other night I stayed up well past my bedtime watching “Halls of Anger” (1970) on TCM, a movie that, while also about racism, belongs to the subgenre of movies about a teacher using unconventional methods to reach resistant students. Others that come to mind are “To Sir With Love” (1967) and, “Dangerous Minds” (1995) but I know there are many others. In each of these movies the students are inner-city and have been written off by “the system”. The plot generally goes like this: teacher tries to follow the required curriculum, students taunt teacher, teacher has angry outburst and throws out the textbook, students are won over, roll credits with uplifting song.
I watched with #2 pencil and paper ready as I waited for the inevitable moment when a student would read poetry and the scales would fall from his eyes. (I have a continuing obsession with poetry in movies.) As it turns out, in “Halls of Anger” actor Calvin Lockhart's teacher Quincy Davis further alienates his students when he tells them they’ll be studying the poetry of James Russell Lowell and Ralph Waldo Emerson, among others. One student says something like, “If I have to look at another poem by someone with three names I’m going to . . ." Lockhart finally reaches his students by having them read aloud the sex scenes in a drug-store bodice ripper; once they’ve mastered those steamy passages (with much guffawing) he turns them on to Madame Bovary. “That’s beautiful,” says Otis Day’s Lerone Johnson upon finishing a description of Bovary’s response to love-making. [Correction - it was Lady Chatterly's Lover, D.H Lawrence, not Bovary (see comments)-- sdh ]
Can you name any other such movies? And I wonder, has there ever been such a movie where the teacher uses science or math to reach students? (Maybe this is the wrong place to ask that last question.)
Did I mention in my post about Lera Auerbach that my friend Jim Stubenrauch heard in her music echoes of Olivier Messiaen? Yes I did. Well, I wanted to know more so I e-mailed Jim the next day and here's his response:
The piece I mentioned is Quartet for the End of Time by Olivier Messiaen (shown right, while imprisoned -- sdh) which was written and premiered in a prisoner of war camp during WWII. Messiaen wrote the piece for the instruments that were available: piano, violin, cello, and clarinet—an unusual combination.
Peter Serkin formed the quartet Tashi in the 70s to perform this piece, so I’m sure you could find a recording by them, tho others have done it since. Georgia and I saw the re-formed Tashi perform it last summer at Tanglewood, in honor of Messiaen’s centenary. It was really one of the most moving performances I’ve ever heard. It’s incredible music in any setting, but if you imagine it being written and performed for the first time in the dead of winter for an audience of several thousand prisoners and guards in a POW camp… it’s just one of those things that seem impossibly bizarre and really beyond belief.
Messiaen was quite a character. You would enjoy reading up on him. He was a devout Roman Catholic, though with a deep mystical bent, and worked as a church organist for many years and wrote gargantuan pieces for pipe organ. He had a lot of strange and interesting ideas about harmony and rhythm, and also experienced synaesthesia, so some of his music is based on the chromatic harmonies that different tones evoked for him. He was also something of an ornithologist, and is famous for writing lots of pieces based on his transcriptions of birdsong(!). Probably the best-known big piano piece in this mode is Catalogue of Birds (Catalogue d’oiseaux), which is a beauty.
Nearly a week has passed since my friend Jim Stubenrauch and I attended Lera Auerbach’s private recital and in the musical equivalent of what dance critic Arlene Croce called “after-images” I am still hearing snippets of her compositions. I'd hoped to post about the evening sooner, but life’s obligations intervened, and this is my first chance to do so. Lera (left) arranged this performance at the last minute as a run-through before a concert in Boston where she and her accompanists Philippe Quint (violin) and Nicholas Altstaedt (cello) would perform two sonatas and a piano trio. In describing her music, Lera explains that she is driven by twin obsessions of memory and time: “Memories are the one thing we have that cannot be taken away from us,” she says, and “we are always trying to stop time, escape time, be free from time.” Auerbrach is a brilliant composer and pianist (and poet and translator too). Those of you who are unfamiliar with her work should check it out here and in the many videos that have popped up on YouTube. Right now I’m listening to a CD of 24 Preludes for Violin and Piano. It’s haunting but also filled with flashes of humor; a folk melody creeps in, hints of passages from iconic pieces by other composers. When we played a selection for John Ashbery a few months ago, he was reminded of Shostakovich; my friend Jim, a musician himself, was reminded of Olivier Messiaen. This is not to say that Auerbach’s compositions aren’t uniquely her own, just that the musically-trained ear will pick up the conversations that composers have with each other across generations, just as poets do with poems.
A few words about the setting: Picture a palatial mid-town apartment high above Manhattan with views of Central Park out of one set of floor-to-ceiling windows on one side and views of the Hudson River out of the other. A dining area with wine and hors d’ouevres on offer. A living room arranged for a concert with rows of folding chairs and a sofa facing the Bösendorfer grand piano – an instrument that Jim tells me he’s never seen outside of a concert hall. Our host is a medical doctor and music lover. The roughly 30 guests are friendly and range in age from twenty-somethings to sixties and beyond. To my delight, the American Ballet Theater’s prima ballerina Diana Vishneva (pronounced Dee-ana) walks in and I nearly fall over myself to tell her how much I loved her Giselle in the summer of '05. (Afterimages, indeed).
It's on to the music, which is exciting, physically demanding on the musicians, complicated in parts, sweetly melodic in others, especially in the lovely encore (Postlude for violin and piano, available on the CD, above). But don’t take my word for it. Listen for yourselves here.
Shout out to the world. Lera is embarking on a multi-city world tour. Catch her if you can.
So, the academic year is over, the grades are in, the galleys are in, and though there is still lots to do, there's time for a bit of relaxation. David surprises me with reservations at La Grenouille, a venerable mid-town restaurant. We rarely dine out, in part because I love to cook and we have crazy schedules but also because we both watch our weight and because in this town even a casual meal in a local spot can be expensive.
The dining room is elegant, the patrons are attractive and smartly dressed; the recession seems not to have reached this oasis. We are well cared for by the attentive but not overbearing staff. The food is spectacular (duck breast with rhubarb sauce for me, halibut with olive oil and artichokes for him and ouef a la neige for dessert (a classic French dessert that I haven't had since I bicycled through France a gazillion years ago). A glass of Pinot Noir for me, Sancerre for him. Not to mention a glass of Pol Roger champagne to accompany our appetizers: sweetbreads for one of us, "choix des hors d'oeuvres" for the other. Divine.
As we took our seats on the banquette, we noticed the table of three to my left. The gentleman had before him a large roasted chicken with a side of asparagus. "Why order chicken in a place like this?" we wondered. Well if you're a regular, sometimes you want the chicken. Besides, a perfectly roasted chicken is no small accomplishment. Soon, our fellow diner had reduced his chicken to a pile of bones. The plate was whisked away and replaced by a entree sized serving of two plump juicy rare tournedos of beef with more asparagus. There was bread. There was wine. He tucked into his beef and polished it off with dispatch. He signals the waiter. Away goes the plate. Moments later, another serving of the beef is placed before him. He makes fast work of that too and signals the waiter. Time for dessert. Let's see, what'll it be? Ahh, more beef! In the span of an hour (we had barely finished our appetizers) he'd eaten a chicken and three servings of filet mignon! Where did it go? He was a slender man, mid-forties? nicely dressed and coiffed and in the company of two attractive women who picked at their meals. He paid the check. (I should hope so!)
--Wandrers Nachtlied (1780)
Over the hills
Comes the quiet.
Across the treetops
No breeze blows.
Not a sound: even the small
Birds in the woods
Just wait: soon you
Will be quiet, too.
from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman
THE RULE OF THUMB
Ringfinger was nervous
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.